Junior Shelby Catalano will remain the Missouri Student Association’s Board of Elections Commissioners vice chairwoman after the MSA Court recommended that the MSA Senate examine the bylaws.
Catalano was confirmed last Wednesday as a board vice chairwoman despite being the MSA Budget Committee chairwoman, in conflict with an MSA bylaw. Part of the chapter 8 bylaw reads, “The Vice Chairs may not hold simultaneous offices within the association.”
The MSA Student Court was notified of the matter Aug. 30, Chief Justice Bailey Otto, junior, said.
The court has not made a ruling because the issue was not brought before it as a formal case. Instead, MSA officers approached the court for its opinion and input, Otto said.
“This just isn’t really something we would treat as a case,” Otto said. “We don’t have a defendant. We don’t have plaintiffs. It wasn’t brought to us in the form of a court case.”
The court instead passed down a set of recommendations for the MSA Senate to address during its next session. The first part asks the Senate to address the intention of the use of the word “office.”
For now, Catalano is still Budget Committee chairwoman and a board vice chairwoman because of a loophole within the MSA bylaws, MSA Operations chairman Ben Bolin said. Although the chapter 8 bylaw says vice chairmen may not hold simultaneous offices, the board vice chairperson is not actually defined as an office.
It is not until chapter 9, the last of the MSA bylaws, which formally defines what an office is within the association. The chapter includes the MSA president, MSA committee chairmen and others, but does not, however, include any board position, vice chairperson or otherwise.
“I was aware of this in the bylaws, and that’s entirely true,” Bolin said. “The thing is that this has been, in the past, whenever it said simultaneous offices, it has been taken as … a paid position/physical office.”
The position of board chairperson or vice chairperson is something that has never been given a formal definition, something Bolin said he is glad is happening now.
The second part of the MSA Court decision asks the Senate, or a committee established by the Senate, to review the positions listed in chapter 9 of the bylaws and determine if changes are necessary for clarification.
The decision is now for the Senate Operations Committee to handle, Bolin said. These discussions will take place the week after next.
“Operations is going to review it,” Bolin said. “We’re going to figure out what the role of BEC is and whether it should be completely out (of the bylaws) or completely in.”
Addressing this issue now and amending the bylaws accordingly will clarify matters for the next group of senators who stumble across this issue, Bolin said.
The final part of the court’s recommendation addressed the role of the board within MSA. It asks Senate to establish a committee addressing the independence of the board.
Board chairman David Wettroth, sophomore, said he does not think an ad hoc committee will be necessary to determine the board’s role.
“I think Operations and then anyone who wants to be a part of the discussion can be, so I don’t think we need to make an ad hoc committee to make this happen,” Wettroth said.
No matter what happens to the bylaws, Catalano will continue her tenure as both MSA Budget Committee chairwoman and board vice chairwoman because of a grandfather clause, Wettroth said.